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Title: Prairies and water management on Corps lands
Authors: Bailey, Pamela.
Keywords: Prairies
Water Management
Publisher: Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Technical Note (Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program (U.S.)) ; no. ERDC TN-EMRRP-ER-11
Abstract: Approximately 800,000 acres of grasslands have been documented to occur on Corps of Engineers operational projects nationwide (Martin and Peloquin 2005). Results of a recent Corps of Engineers Workshop (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2006) revealed that many natural resource managers are actively involved in prairie restoration and management (Figure 1), and there is considerable potential to improve prairie communities and associated water resources on project lands throughout the United States. Prairie lands are important for proper watershed-wide management, serving as buffers to adjacent waterways that improve water quality and control water quantity. The conservation and management of these grasslands are critical to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem quality (The Nature Conservancy 2000). Native prairies function as stable plant communities supporting wildlife, and qualify as meeting the Corps criteria of the “Sustainable Lands Performance Measure,” now tracked by the Operations and Maintenance Business Information Link (OMBIL) and incorporated in the Environmental Stewardship Budget Evaluation System (ESBEST). Managing prairie lands offers a sustainable watershed-wide approach that is not only important to Corps reservoirs, but also to waterways nationwide. The purpose of this technical note is to identify and describe how prairie lands affect water quality, quantity, and yield into the receiving bodies of streams, rivers, and lakes. The physical and biological processes are described in the context of the functions prairies provide in maintaining water quality and quantity: 1) filtration, 2) soil formation, 3) nutrient cycling, and 4) controlling water runoff. This note also recommends best management practices (BMPs) including site conversion of fallow land, controlled grazing, control of invasive species, and brush control. BMPs can improve the function of prairies in capturing overland flow of water and reducing runoff, sediment trapping, and control of non-point source pollution. Understanding these natural processes and how prairies function to improve water quality, and balance water yield, will demonstrate why prairie grasslands are critical to the sustainable management of Corps lakes and waterways. This technical note is a product of the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Program (EMRRP) work unit titled “Prairie/Grassland Ecosystems on Corps Projects,” as described in Martin and Peloquin (2005).
Description: Technical Note
Gov't Doc #: ERDC TN-EMRRP-ER-11
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Size: 16 pages/1.97 MBs
Types of Materials: PDF/A
Appears in Collections:Technical Note

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